The School Strike for Climate campaign led to public discussion about children’s political participation. Children are generally excluded from formal political systems, however this campaign challenges mainstream attitudes that children are not sufficiently competent to participate in politics. This paper presents an analysis of Australian mainstream media representations of adult responses to the School Strike for Climate events held in Australia in March 2019. When analysed against theories of childhood, two primary narratives are reflected in what adults said about children’s participation in the campaign. Anticipatory narratives focus on children appropriately developing into adults, and are represented by the notion that strikers should be in school, be punished for missing school, and are ‘just kids’ who should not be listened to. Protectionist narratives seek to shelter children from adult matters, suggesting strikers were brainwashed and raising welfare concerns. Neither of these narratives regard children as citizens capable of political voice, despite these children acting prefiguratively to create a world in which their civic participation is valued. Social movement theories of prefiguration are also explored in this paper, providing a counter argument to suggestions that children have no political agency and should be excluded from activism and discussions regarding climate change.